One of the most beautiful and historically rich cities in the entirety of India, Jaisalmer is often referred to as ‘The Golden City’, owing to its wealth of yellow sandstone. A small, remote city located in the heart of the Thar desert, Jaisalmer is filled with amazing historical temples and buildings and is well-known for its long-standing association with Jainism.
One of India’s most unique and interesting historical sites, Jaisalmer Fort is considered to be arguably the only functioning fort left in the world. Built in the mid-12th Century, it remains a focal point of the city of Jaisalmer today. Built under the orders of Rawal Jaisal, the city’s founder, the fort played a major role as Jaisalmer assumed an important role in trade during the heyday of the Silk Road. The fort is known for its distinct design, its spectacular views of the surrounding area and the temple it houses.
One of the most picturesque sights in the region, Gadisar Lake, otherwise termed the ‘Lake of Flowers’, is amongst the standout destinations of the Kashmir Valley. Located 5000 metres above sea level, it is a major hiking and fishing hotspot in the region. Offering unparalleled sights, it is one of the most beautiful yet under-seen natural destinations in India.
Patwon Ki Haveli
Jaisalmer is well-known for its many Havelis, which are traditional mansions across the Indian subcontinent. Patwon Ki Haveli is arguable the best0known of the Havelis in the city. Located a short walk away from the Jaisalmer Fort, this Haveli is known rot is opulent interior and intricate carvings. It is worth doing a more comprehensive tour of the city’s Havelis, but this is without a doubt worth seeking out for its sheer aesthetic beauty.
Located in the outskirts of the city, Bada Bagh, or ‘Big Garden’ is one of the area’s most beautiful historical sites. Built in the mid-18th Century, the Bad Bagh was constructed following the death of Jai Singh II on the orders of his son. There are numerous inscriptions dedicated to his ancestors. A peaceful and contemplative site with major historical significance.
Desert Cultural Centre and Museum
One of the more off-beat museums in the country, the Desert Cultural Centre & Museum presents an informative look into the history of Rajasthani culture. An immersive and insightful experience, the museum is well worth checking out, especially for the nightly puppet shows.
main image: image courtesy of Gwen Fran, Flickr Creative Commons